Financial Post | Business

Canadian building permits jumped to a surprise record in July, led by Toronto and Vancouver condominiums and apartments, at a time when the central bank says high home prices and indebted consumers remain a key risk to the economy.

The value of municipal permits for multi-unit housing jumped 43.4% to $2.54 billion, Statistics Canada said Monday in Ottawa. Total permits in Toronto rose 29.6% to $1.65 billion while Vancouver surged 46.1% to C$718 million.

Nationwide, permits rose 11.8% to $9.16 billion in July, confounding economists in a Bloomberg survey who forecast a 5% decline. Residential and non-residential permits both reached records, rising 18.0% and 5.2% respectively.

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Bank of Canada policy makers said last week that risks posed by “imbalances” in household finances remain, as they kept their key interest rate at 1%. Home sales and prices have shown unexpected strength this year as the lowest mortgage rates in…

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